By Daniel Vlasaty
I’m just going to come right out and say that I didn’t really care for the first issue of Curse Words. I tried to like it, but it just didn’t click for me. Something about it. Maybe it’s because it seemed a little too hipster-y (which is a word I am just making up here) or something. I don’t know. I like Charles Soule and Ryan Browne, so I figured, together, it would be an instant hit with me. But it wasn’t. Whatever. Let’s move on.
I picked up issue two the other day and decided to give it another chance. I’m not sure what changed. Maybe it was me. Maybe I was in a bad mood when I read the first issue, I’m not sure. But I really enjoyed the second issue. It was silly and fun and just the right amount of hipster-y for me. So, I was excited to check out issue 3 because I really wanted to see what the shit was going on in this book. I want to know what’s up with Margaret. I want to see how and why Wizord lost his powers. I want to see what the hell happens next.
And I think what initially turned me off about this book is now what’s grabbing me. The ridiculous over-the-top-ness of it. The too cool for school feel of it. The fact that it’s stupid and overly silly but still smart. I sometimes forget that comic books (and regular books and TV and movies and all of that) are supposed to be about escape. I tend to read (and watch, etc.) a lot of serious, heavy shit, so this book just feels like a welcome slap of silliness and fun. Apparently, I need regular reminders that life doesn’t have to be so goddamn serious all the time.
In the third issue of Curse Words, we’re thrust right back into the thick of it. Sizzajee’s still pissed at Wizord for messing up a job and essentially, switching sides. He’s moving forward with his plan to hit Wizord, while he’s down. Waiting to regain his strength before he can send out his next assassin.
Ruby Stitch is itching to prove herself to Sizzajee. She’s going to use her past relationship with Wizord to her advantage. But first she’s got to deal with a bunch of tiger-people (or whatever) trying to move in on Sizzajee’s territory.
Wizord is mourning the loss of his powers by being a drunk asshole. And he’s wearing a fake beard because he lost his real beard when he lost his powers.
Margaret’s trying to help Wizord by proving to him that there is magic all around them. Which means taking him to a screening of a terrible (albeit magical) movie.
The writing here is perfectly over-the-top. It’s weird and random and refreshing as shit. I’m mainly familiar with Soule from his work at DC and Marvel. I know of some of his other indie stuff but I don’t think I’ve ever read it (although Letter 44 has been on my list for a long time). What I really like about this book is the playfulness of it. Even though what is happening in the story, to the characters, is life-and-death serious, it still comes off as playful and fun to the reader. Also, you’ve got to love a book where a talking Koloa named Margaret is the voice of reason. When I read the first issue I kind of thought Wizord was just a douchebag. And he still is now – that hasn’t changed – but we’ve also been given some reasons to root for him. He’s just a misunderstood wizard trying to make up for all the bad shit he’s done in his life. The combination of serious and absurd make this a very interesting book.
As far as the art goes, I guess you could say you either love Ryan Browne’s stuff or you hate it. Although I’ve never met a single person that admitted to hating it. I think it’s great. But I’ve always liked his stuff. His work in Curse Words is as good, if not better, than anything else I’ve ever seen him do. He really plays off the absurd writing. This is one of those books where it just seems like the creators are having a lot of fun. It comes through in every aspect of the book. And I like that. I appreciate it.
Add Michael Garland’s surreal, bold colors to Browne’s art and you have a visually pleasing book. I will say that while I do really enjoy Soule’s writing in Curse Words, it’s the art that does it for me. It seems both simple and not at the same time. A lot of the panels have plain, only color backgrounds, while some are so overly detailed you can get lost in them for minutes.
There’s a lot going on in Curse Words. Good writing and great art. It’s a fun book that I now look forward to with every new release. My one fear is that it won’t be able to carry on this level of good-ness for too long. That what is so fresh and fun now will get old and tired after some time. I wonder how long it will be until the shtick wears off, if it ever does.
Curse Words #3